House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gives cryptic comment about ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal

  • House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave a cryptic comment about the fate of the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp.
  • House Bill No. 4349, which seeks to renew the network’s franchise has been pending and will have to be refiled in the next Congress
  • However, President Rodrigo Duterte may oppose the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN in Congress

Former President and outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo only gave a cryptic comment about the fate of the franchise of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN Corp. which will expire in March 2020.

“I have no comment. Congress is finished. Our sessions are over,” Arroyo said in an ambush interview following the unveiling of the “No. 1” sculpture outside of the Legislative Library, Archives and Museum Building at the House of Representatives on June 13.

House Bill No. 4349, which seeks to renew the radio-television network’s franchise for another 25 years, has been pending with the committee on legislative franchises since November 16, 2016. It was filed on November 10 of the same year by Nueva Ecija 2nd District Rep. Micaela Violago and by former Davao City Congressman and now Cabinet Sec. Karlo Alexei Nograles under House Bill No. 8163.

Pending bills will have to be refiled at the next Congress, which will be on July 22, 2019.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, who is a member of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said Congress has no intention of freezing any franchise application.

“What happened was that deliberations on the franchise were not completed until adjournment of the 17th Congress, so it has to be filed again in the 18th Congress,” he added.

A legislative franchise committee member, however, revealed that no actions have been made to renew ABS-CBN franchise since President Rodrigo Duterte has complaints against the station.

“They have to thresh out and resolve their issues with the President. That’s the key to get the bill moving,” the anonymous lawmaker said.

Duterte has said on many occasions that he will oppose the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN in Congress.

Duterte has slammed ABS-CBN for allegedly refusing to run his paid advertisement during the 2016 election campaign and showing instead an ad critical of him paid for by his staunch critic, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Duterte said in November 2018 that he will likely not sign a bill renewing ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise.

“ABS-CBN’s franchise has been there for 25 years. The law said it’s okay, only if you adhere to journalistic standards. What did you do to us? Estafa, swindling, not only me, but Chiz Escudero, many of us. Son of a bitch, you collected outright then you commit estafa,” Duterte said.

ABS-CBN’s competitor GMA Network Inc.’s franchise, however, was renewed as Duterte signed Republic Act 10925 into law in April 2017.

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ABS-CBN4579 Gloria Arroyo2 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo8 House Bill No. 81631 House of Representatives5 Karlo Alexei Nograles1 President Rodrigo Duterte83